The client:
A mid-market UK-based Private Equity firm with £2.6bn in capital raised since inception, managed across six funds. A team of about 30 employees, predominantly investing in Europe.

What was the initial problem?
Our client was experiencing inadequate service provision from its IT Managed Service Provider (MSP), who didn’t have a London presence. Their infrastructure was still predominantly on-premise, and they wanted to move to Office365, but they needed a partner that could smoothly manage this significant change. As a team of ~30, our client wasn’t big enough to have a full-time CTO. They needed an MSP that could provide long-term, strategic-level direction.

Our client began an RFP process, requesting proposals from 5 potential MSPs, hoping the MSPs would advise them on where they wanted to get to. However, the result of this was them receiving 5 entirely different, incomparable proposals. Each MSP had given them different advice and they were even more unsure of the direction they should take. They reached out to Holland Mountain for support.

What action did we take?
We began by spending time onsite to fully understand the client’s current state, pain points and future goals. Based on these findings, and our knowledge of private capital best practice around IT infrastructure & services, we worked with the team to map out their target future state. We also validated our client’s MSP shortlist, suggesting additional MSPs to include based on our knowledge of the private capital MSP landscape.

We detailed the target future state in a new RFP document, being more prescriptive than the client had been in previous discussions, whilst still offering the MSPs leeway to make suggestions. We held a briefing call with each of the shortlisted MSPs, sent out the new RFP document and managed all of the MSPs’ questions.

We conducted an initial review of all responses, following up with MSPs to fill any gaps. We then presented a summary of all responses to our client to enable them to compare. We ensured that our client was ‘comparing apples with apples’ and that they were clear about the key differentiating factors. Finally, we facilitated workshops with each of the shortlisted MSPs to enable our client to gain a full understanding of how they would work for them as a long-term partner.

What was the result?
Totally clear on the key differentiating factors, our client selected their preferred MSP. As a final step, we advised them on contract negotiations and reviewed the MSP’s Service Level Agreement, ensuring that the requirements and service-level detailed matched the target future state, and setting the client up for a smooth onboarding.

Overall, our involvement in the process minimised disruption to the team’s day jobs and gave the client total confidence that they had selected an MSP that had proven its ability to deliver their requirements.